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Black Odysseys: The Homeric Odyssey in the African Diaspora Since 1939 (Classical Presences)


Black Odysseys: The Homeric Odyssey in the African Diaspora Since 1939 (Classical Presences) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Black Odysseys explores creative works by artists of ultimately African descent, which respond to the Homeric Odyssey. Considering what the ancient Greek epic has signified for those struggling to emerge from the shadow of Western imperialism, and how it has inspired anti-colonial poets, novelists, playwrights, and directors, McConnell examines twentieth- and twenty-first century works from Africa and the African diaspora, including the Caribbean and the United States. In seeking to discover why the Odyssey, as a founding text of the Western canon, has been of such interest to these artists, the great plurality of post-colonial and anti-colonial responses becomes clear: responses that differ dramatically from each other, even in the attitude adopted towards Odysseus himself.

Since Aime Cesaire's seminal 1939 poem, Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (Notebook of a Return to My Native Land), the Odyssey's homecoming trope and quest for identity have inspired writers who are simultaneously striving against and appropriating the very forms which had been used to oppress them. Following in the wake of Cesaire, this volume proceeds chronologically and considers works by Ralph Ellison, Derek Walcott, Jon Amiel, Wilson Harris, Njabulo Ndebele, and Jatinder Verma.

About the Author

Justine McConnell is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Oxford University's Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, working on the 'Performing Epic' project. She is co-editor of Ancient Slavery and Abolition: from Hobbes to Hollywood (OUP, 2011) with Edith Hall and Richard Alston, and of a forthcoming volume, The Oxford Handbook of Greek Drama in the Americas, with Kathryn Bosher, Fiona Macintosh, and Patrice Rankine.

Table of Contents


List of illustrations

Introduction: The Odysseys of Postcolonialism

1. A Martiniquan Ithaca: Aime Cesaire's Cahier d un retour au pays natal

2. Invisible Odysseus and the Cyclops: Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

3. The 'unread' Homer: Derek Walcott's Omeros and The Odyssey: A Stage Version

4. A Deep South Odyssey: Jon Amiel's Sommersby

5. Cross-Cultural Nostoi: Wilson Harris' The Mask of the Beggar

6. South African Penelopes: Njabulo Ndebele's The Cry of Winnie Mandela

Coda: New Directions: Jatinder Verma and Tara Arts

Conclusion: Rewriting Odysseys

Appendix: Interview with Jatinder Verma



Product Details

Mcconnell, Justine
Oxford University Press, USA
Justine McConnell
Classical Studies | Classical Literature in Translation
World History-Africa
Publication Date:
5 illus.
5.7 x 8.6 x 0.9 in 1.206 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » African Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Classics » General
History and Social Science » Literary History » United States » General
History and Social Science » World History » Africa

Black Odysseys: The Homeric Odyssey in the African Diaspora Since 1939 (Classical Presences) Used Hardcover
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Product details 336 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199605002 Reviews:
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